Friday, May 31, 2013

appendix to I Love Distortion, part four - Elliott Murphy (Bonus Video Friday)

(This is the final installment of May's series; appendix to I Love Distortion.  In June we'll return to  
 the rather more random nature of Bonus Video Fridays.  I fully realize there was a lot of nostalgia,
 a lot of looking back in May, but I felt it was necessary to set up the May 27 blog entry - which was  
 largely concerned with The Twilight Kids' live show - so readers would have some rough idea
of what that band might have sounded like.  Intro to this last installment by Sean Richter;) 

Elliott Murphy's song "Rock Ballad" figures fairly prominently into the story of I Love Distortion.  First, I believe it's one of the ten best songs ever written in the rock & roll idiom, period.  And second, it provided me with the go-ahead to begin the affair with Nicole all the way back to the first night I read her poetry.  (see blog entry I Love Distortion - chapter three, March 13th, 2013)

I remember putting Elliott's album Just A Story From America on while I was reading those poems, listening with headphones so as not to wake Melanie and having the following verse waft in my ears;

"And these jobs and these schools teach romance is for fools
And the dream always ends upon waking
And we all kept our cool like a hustler shoots pool
And soon your whole life is spent faking
'Cause to try is to fail and as the wind left your sails
All you heard was the sound of their laughter
But I was running so fast with the wind racing past
All I heard was a voice say, 'Go after her.'"
- Elliott Murphy, 1977

I didn't have a whole lot of people to confide in that late March night, in that dark livingroom on the West Side of Columbus, Ohio.  My last band had ended in December, 1977; I was facing a future in retail store middle management; my four year old marriage had cooled to an extended friendship.  I needed advice and I needed it right then.

If you think it's insane to change your life based on the lyrics of a rock & roll record, I guess I can see your point, but I can also see that you haven't been following the message of this blog or the story of I Love Distortion.

All I can say is; at its best moments, when love and music ruled over guilt and sadness, this song is exactly how my life felt in 1978. - Sean Richter

© 2013 Ricki C.

Monday, May 27, 2013

I Love Distortion (a rock & roll novel in 12 chapters) - May

(I Love Distortion (a rock & roll novel in 12 chapters) appears monthly in
Growing Old With Rock & Roll; January to December, 2013)

I Love Distortion - chapter five

Sweet satisfaction
I've got my favorite action
Givin' you satisfaction"
- Nicole Page, 1978

My divorce wasn't finalized until sometime in 1982 - Melanie really strung out the process on that (which, all things considered, I guess was fair enough) - but my marriage ended on Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, 1978.  I was working at K-Mart that day, pulling in some time-and-a-half holiday pay to pay for new music gear when Nicole came in for a surprise visit after spending the holiday with her friends on a boat at Hoover Reservoir.

She was wearing the tiniest pair of blue denim shorts I have ever witnessed on a human being to this day and a white tank top, and she was so sunburned that every exposed inch of skin (of which there were many, she was five foot seven) was actually glowing a hot pink.  Folks, I'm not gonna lie to you or sugarcoat it; right at that moment my marriage was DONE.  I remember thinking, quite clearly, "Okay, I'm finished fighting.  I surrender.  It really doesn't matter what else happens from this point on, I am going to make love to this girl and those marriage vows I took are OVER." 

Things hadn't been exactly chaste to that point on Nicole's and my part, but it was under control; the songwriting and band activities definitely took preference over making out.  (But truthfully, not by much, the entire process was kinda inextricably linked.)  And both of us had broken things off entirely more than a couple of times, thinking we could nip the affair in the bud, slow down or stop the inevitable destruction of Nicole's engagement and my marriage.  Kissing my lead singer goodnight after band rehearsal was one thing, committing the actual sin of adultery was quite another.  I was, after all, a Catholic boy.  But at that moment, in that K-Mart toy aisle, looking at Nicole's sunburned face, spinning into her laughing eyes, I was done, cooked, over.

Meanwhile, things were getting hot as Nicole's sunburn on the band front.  We worked up the ten songs detailed in last month's I Love Distortion installment (blog entry April 13th, 2013) and opened a Lovely & Sonic show at Drake Union.  We played pretty well too, there were no train wrecks during the set and audience response was definitely positive.  And then Billy Ray and company came on, kicked ass, maimed, killed, destroyed and made the audience forget about us in the first ten minutes.  I really don't think Billy Ray did it to be malicious, but I do think he was trying to send a message regarding upstarts and bosses.  It was obvious we were gonna have to raise the stakes.

We hadn't really performed at that first show.  We'd pretty much stood still, concentrated on hitting the notes, played the songs the way we'd written them.  And wound up coming off like a cream tea.  That would have to change. 

The most immediate need was for a dedicated set-ender; a "My Generation," a "Street Fighting Man," a "Rosalita  (Come Out Tonight)."  I truthfully cannot remember what song we ended that first set with, but whatever it was it didn't go.  Consequently I went back to Nicole's notebooks, remembering a poem I had loved that very first night (see blog entry I Love Distortion, March 13th, 2013).  I added a simple chorus, we wrote a last verse together, I worked out the music and we had a set-ender;

I Love Distortion

I've got the power
To come on at will
I have the ability
To kill
Got no obsessions
Got no desires
I want reprieves
And soul fires

And I love distortion
Oh, I love distortion
Oh, I love distortion
How I love distortion

This is insanity
In vain I fear
My mind cries out
My eyes tear
Off the top of my head
I spin my tale
Drums bash out the noise
And guitars wail

And I love distortion
Oh, I love distortion
Oh, I love distortion
How I love distortion

No one knows
No one understands
Only we count now
Only we count right now

So much better together
Than we ever were apart
And I've loved distortion
Right from the start

Sweet satisfaction
I've got my favorite action
Givin' you satisfaction

- Nicole Page & Sean Richter, 1978

The very first time I played the song through on acoustic guitar in my basement when I was writing the music I knew I had something.  The riff played off a simple E >A > D chord progression, another mutant variation on "Gloria" and it was gonna sound GREAT onstage.  The first time I played it to Nicole her face lit up.    When we brought it to the band Jake & Jeffrey were actually excited, and Jeffrey never got excited about ANYTHING. 

Originally the song was going to end with a feedback-laced Jeff Beck Yardbirds guitar solo after the line "And I've loved distortion right from the start."  But then I remembered a stage bit Blue Oyster Cult used to do back in 1975 during their encore cover of Steppenwolf's "Born To be Wild."  Lead singer Eric Bloom and lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser would rub the necks of their guitars together over their heads, creating a true sonic onslaught, something I knew would be a perfect ending for "I Love Distortion."  Nicole and I adapted the routine, though, rubbing our guitars together at groin level rather than over our heads.  It created just as sacred a din but added a sexual component I don't think those Blue Oyster Cult boys ever entertained any notion of.  (I think David Bowie & Mick Ronson had an inkling of it back in the Ziggy Stardust days, however.)  When we enacted the bit we'd further meet at center stage to kiss and make out like crazy.  That's when Nicole added the "Satisfaction / sweet satisfaction" coda and we had ourselves a nifty little set-ender.  It was a truly great finish to a set of rock & roll.  (A coupla months later, when a local music rag reviewed one of our opener gigs, it was described as a "wanton display of simulated sex."  We were so proud of that review we hung it on the refrigerator in the apartment by that time I was sharing with Jeffrey.  But more on that in a later installment.)

We prepared for our second opening gig with Lovely & Sonic like a military campaign.  We had played the first show in t-shirts & jeans, this time we put Nicole in a short skirt with petticoats and a beat-up Cheap Trick t-shirt of mine.  She looked great, Midwest innocent but deadly; the sweet little girl next door fronting a kickass rock & roll band.  I was in straight-leg black jeans, black t-shirt and a black pinstripe suit jacket.  We left Jeffrey and Jake in bellbottom bluejeans just for contrast.  (Yeah, that was kind of a prick move, but they really didn't care, they didn't wanna dress up, they just wanted to play.)  That night we also debuted our punk attack on the Bay City Rollers' "Saturday Night" (a tune Nicole and I discovered we both loved when it came on the radio on some late night car ride somewhere), deployed "I Love Distortion" at the end of the set and the crowd went CRAZY!  I don't know if it was the hale of feedback, the guitar grinding, the onstage making out or some combination of the three, but when we dropped the still-feeding-back guitars on the stage and wandered off, leaving Jeffrey & Jake to bash the song to a close with a musical quote from The Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction" riff, WE NAILED IT.

Billy Ray had to delay his set 45 minutes to let the audience calm down.  And we got a month's suspension of opening shows for our audacity at upstaging the headliner, but man did we feel great leaving Drake Union that night.  As we walked out of the gig hand in hand into a warm spring night and Nicole leaned her head on my shoulder I said, "When you came to me you brought e-lectricity."  And without missing a beat Nicole replied, "Someday every word we'll say will be poetry."  It was the start of a whole other new song.  That night belonged to us.

In the month we had off from Lovely & Sonic shows we started playing rich kids' house parties, starting with one of the Upper Arlington grads who had attended the second Drake Union show.  It was weird for me at first; it had been exactly ten years since I'd started playing in bands and here I was back playing at parties.  Except in 1968 I was playing basement rec rooms for West Side high school kids eating potato chips and drinking cokes.  Now we were playing in dens and formal dining rooms for rich college kids snorting coke with bowls of quaaludes instead of chips and parents who were mysteriously absent, nowhere to be found.  And those parties paid WAY better than West Side bars.

We also borrowed a van from a heavy metal buddy of mine and played our first out of town show; opening for a band called The Gremlins in Bloomington, Indiana.  The Gremlins were the brainchild of the staff of a fanzine called Midwest Punk Press with whom I had corresponded while publishing my own punk fanzine.  They were having a record release party for their first e.p. and invited us out to open.  They'd sent me an advance copy of the record and, truthfully, it wasn't great.  The band couldn't really play and the three(!) lead singers couldn't really sing but the songs were kinda cool.  It was almost like a 1960's hippie jugband trying to play punk rock.  But an out of town gig was an out of town gig, so we pointed the van west and made the trip.

At the Saturday afternoon soundcheck I knew The Gremlins were in for a LONG night.  The drummer who had played on the e.p. had quit, possibly because his marijuana haze momentarily lifted and he actually heard what the rest of the band sounded like.  The new kid was lamentable.  He either didn't know the songs, hadn't rehearsed, had never touched a drumstick that wasn't attached to a turkey before that day, or some combination of all three.  That poor kid couldn't have found the beat if it fucked him in a closet.  The guitarist didn't know how to tune his guitar, the bass player was shaky and overall the band had a problem changing chords and starting & stopping songs all at the same time.  Even so, given all of that, at the end of the trainwreck soundcheck the Leader Guy Editor said, genuinely enthusiastically, "Great job, guys, we're gonna give 'em hell tonight."  Nicole, Jeffrey, Jake, our roadie Greg and I all exchanged a glance, we truly couldn't believe our ears.  These guys actually thought that display of musical ineptitude had gone great?

It was around that time I started to realize the straitjacket that punk was creating for itself.  The Gremlins thought The Sex Pistols and Johnny Thunder's Heartbreakers were the godhead; that all you needed to do was make some noise, adopt a sneering punk persona stance and everything would come out all right in the end.  We aspired more to be The Dictators or Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; a lean & mean rock & roll band that played fast, loud, hard 3-minute songs with a take-no-prisoners attitude and no trendy safety pins & garbage bags dress-up aspect.

When it was our turn to soundcheck we just line-checked the instruments and mics to make sure all the equipment worked and played snippets of a couple of tunes, we didn't play a single song all the way through.  I was afraid if we did they wouldn't let us play that night.  When I came offstage there was a sharply-dressed guy with a black leather jacket and a great short haircut standing there.  He looked vaguely familiar and then it clicked, we're in Bloomington, Indiana.  I walked over to the guy and said, "Johnny Cougar, right?  You made Chestnut Street Incident, I bought your album."  He laughed and said, "Oh, you're the one."  I talked to the future John Mellencamp for a few minutes, introduced him to Nicole (who had no idea who he was, this was pre-Big Hits.)  Even at that point John was the Local Boy Made Good With A Major Label Record Deal and The Gremlins had asked him to come and introduce them at their record release party.  When he was leaving he said, "The Gremlins, they're not the hottest bunch of players around, are they?"  "No," I replied, shaking my head, "no they're not."  He said, "You guys dig The Who, don't you?"  "Yes, we do," I smiled wickedly.  "It's gonna be a bloodbath tonight for the hometown boys," I heard Cougar say to his buddy as they walked away.     

To make a long story short, we DESTROYED The Gremlins record release party.  We had the audience in the palm of our hands from the very first notes of "That Girl's A Daydream" - which we played as a trio with me singing lead so Nicole could make a Big Entrance.  She strolled on from the side of the stage, Greg tossed her a guitar that she caught one-handed, effortlessly dropped over her shoulder in one smooth motion and we were off into "Homemade Rock & Roll" and "Stupid Games."  We never let up once, played all 13 songs we knew at that point and pulverized the crowd at the end with an all-out destructo rendition of "I Love Distortion."

The Gremlins never knew what hit them.  As soon as Greg, Jeffrey & Jake had cleared our gear off the stage they went right on, instead of hanging back and letting the energy from our set dissipate.  The drummer counted off the first song, the guitarist and bassist started two or three notes apart and the lead singer missed the first cue to come in.  Instead of powering through, they stopped AND STARTED THE FIRST SONG OVER AGAIN.  The second time the drummer dropped a stick thirty seconds in, lost the beat and the guitarist & bass player just stopped playing, leaving the lead singer to render the song a capella.  He kept waving for them to come back in but by that time they didn't know where they were in the song so they finally had to stop AND START THE OPENING SONG OVER FOR THE THIRD TIME.  I couldn't believe my eyes. I hadn't seen anything like this since my high school days in the 60's in somebody's garage on Sunday afternoon, and this was The Gremlins RECORD RELEASE PARTY, for which I'd anticipated they might have rehearsed.  I've had performance nightmares where my rem-sleep imaginary band didn't play that badly.

Nicole couldn't bear to watch the onstage debacle unfold and just walked out the stage door.  "Pack the van," I said over my shoulder to the guys, unable to take my eyes off the Gremlins' meltdown, "we're leaving."  By the third song - as I suspected might happen - the audience had started to yell for our band to come back on, only we had already played our entire repertoire and I didn't want to shatter our Illusion of Invincibility.

I saw Mellencamp as I was leaving and he came over to shake my hand.  "It's good you're taking off, this isn't likely to get any better." he said, nodding at the stage.  "Yeah, I know.  I don't really wanna face 'em." I replied.  "Is that your girl doing the singing?" John asked.  "Yeah," I said.  "She's good," he said.  "Is that a wedding ring on your fretting hand?" Mellencamp inquired.  I put on a sheepish smile and said, "Yeah, it's a long story."  "It's gonna get longer, my brother, it's gonna get longer," Mellencamp said, with the laughing wicked gravity of a man who knew whereof he spoke.  He clapped me on the shoulder and we went our separate ways down the road.

That May Nicole and I lit the fuse and in June everything exploded.

© 2013 Ricki C.

Friday, May 24, 2013

appendix to I Love Distortion, part three - Walter Egan/The Patti Smith Group (Bonus Video Friday)

(I happen to know that these were Sean Richter & Nicole Page's two favorite songs of 1978)

inspirational verse; "I can't hope that I'll hold you for long /
You're a woman who's lost to your song / But the love that I feel is so strong /
And it can't be wrong" - Walter Egan, 1978

inspirational verse; 'Because the night belongs to lovers /
Because the night belongs to us" - Bruce Springsteen & Patti Smith, 1978 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

appendix to I Love Distortion, part two - The Mekons/Carlene Carter (Bonus Video Saturday)

(all the Bonus Video Days in May will be devoted to what the imaginary band in
I Love Distortion (a rock & roll novel in 12 chapters) sounded/would have sounded like.
We now turn the floor over to the narrator of that story, Mr. Sean Richter;)

We have a concept pair of videos for you in today's Bonus Video Saturday: The first time I heard The Mekons tune in question in 1989 I was stunned how much it sounded like one of the songs I wrote - "I Can't Sleep When The Sirens Are On" - that Nicole sang in The Twilight Kids.  (The first two shows we played in 1978 - opening for Lovely & Sonic, story upcoming in blog entry May 29th, 2013 - we dubbed ourselves Niki & the West Side Rockers until Nicole prevailed in the idea that she didn't want to be set apart from the rest of the band.  So beginning with our third outing we became The Twilight Kids.  This was back in the days before Stephenie Meyer's novels, when you could still use the word "twilight" without being immediately associated with teenage vampire/human/werewolf love triangles.)    (We had enough real life love triangles to contend with, nobody needed to venture into the realm of the supernatural.)

So while the song sounded spot-on like The Mekons, Nicole's vocals - given her upbringing in a close harmony family country band - hewed closer to the Carlene Carter stylings exemplified in the second video.  Close your eyes and picture the former tune's punk edge with the latter songs' country tinge, and you get a rough idea of The Twilight Kids when Nicole sang lead. - Sean Richter 

inspirational verse; "When I was 17, sex no longer held a mystery
 I saw it as a commodity to be bought and sold like rock & roll" -  The Mekons, 1989

inspirational verse; "Let 'em stare, I don't care, 'cause I'm an exception to the rule /
They're only jealous 'cause I'm so cool" - Carlene Carter, 1980

© 2013 Ricki C.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Elvis Costello & The Attractions, Nick Lowe & Rockpile, Mink DeVille; May 17th, 1978

Very few people know EXACTLY what they were doing 35 years ago today.  I do.  I was seeing Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Nick Lowe & Rockpile and Mink DeVille live in Cincinnatti, Ohio, on a gorgeous spring night and penning the review reproduced below. 

It's the best piece of rock & roll journalism I ever had published.  The magazine in question was called Focus, a local Columbus music rag.  Up to that point I had been publishing my own punk fanzine, Teenage Rampage, which, let's say, had a very limited press run & circulation.  If 300 people saw any one issue, I'd have been ecstatic, and surprised.  Focus - on the other hand - was hugely popular, free, and EVERYBODY in Columbus who was into music picked it up and read it.  By May 1978 my punk purist edge was gone, long gone.  I didn't want be a punk-rock music writer, I wanted to be a rock & roll music writer.  (Plus I wanted to hype the band I had going right at that moment - Ricki & The West Side Rockers.)

The editor of Focus at that point was a young woman named Kathy Reed.  She was great; she was 20-something, smart, funny, pretty, wore glasses and she KNEW HOW TO GET THINGS DONE.  (Unlike later Focus editors I worked for.)  I had done little reviews here & there that she had printed as letters to the editor but I wanted a shot at a byline review; hence the Costello/Lowe/Deville triple bill.  I went up to the paper's offices and proposed the following to Ms. Reed: She could send the resident punk & New Wave critics of Focus - Tony Rubin & Fred Brockman, by name - to cover the show and I'd pay my own way, write my own review and she could run whichever one was better.

Kathy laughed at my impertinence there in the office - she had been reading Teenage Rampage, I think she expected some safety-pin & Mohawk punk-rocker when I turned up rather than the long-haired West Sider I was (see photo below) - but we shook on the deal.

I wrote some of the review before my buddies and I even got to the show, finished it in the car on the way home from Cincinnatti and had the review double-spaced typed and ready to go on Kathy's desk the next afternoon.

Rubin & Brockman never stood a chance.

(employ your zoom feature, friends & neighbors)

Ricki C., sometime in May, 1978

© 2013 Ricki C.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

My Favorite Places On Earth - part one

It's odd to me the locations that have wound up being my favorite places on earth.  Today in 2013 the Roy G. Biv Gallery is located at 997 North High Street in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio.  When I was a college student at Ohio State University from 1970 to 1973 that space was the site of a mom & pop junk bookstore.  The couple that ran it were easily in their 60's when I was still a teenager.  They were nice, though incredibly quiet and reserved.  I'm not sure we exchanged a hundred words in three years. 

The shop was a dark jumble of paperback romance novels, westerns, pulp fiction, some hardbound books I never really went through and - most importantly to me - new & old secondhand comic books that the elderly couple sold two for a nickel.

From the time I was a child of five in 1957 I lived for comic books and for reading.  My brother and sister were ten and seven years older than me, my mom and dad both worked two jobs after growing up through The Great Depression, so I had a pretty solitary childhood existence.  That quiet shadow world was soon filled by the noisy universe(s) of superheroes.  I didn't really differentiate between DC and Marvel back then - Superman, Batman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman were just as relevant (and just as real) to me as The Fantastic Four, Spiderman, Iron Man, The Hulk and The Avengers.  And then, when I was ten years old in 1963 came The X-Men.  Man, did I love that comic book.  I treasured those adventures of Professor X, Cyclops, The Angel, The Beast, Iceman and Marvel Girl.

But then came 1964 and The Beatles on Ed Sullivan.  And then The Dave Clark 5 on Ed Sullivan.  And then The Rolling Stones on Hollywood Palace.  And then 20 other rock & roll bands I fell in love with on the radio and TV.  At that point I had to make a value judgement of where my scant economic resources were going to be allocated; comic books or 45 rpm singles.  Comic books lost.

Now it was seven years later and, unbelievably to me, The X-Men was still being published and WAS STILL GREAT!  (I didn't know it at the time but the workings of fate brought me back right at the second peak of The X-Men under Roy Thomas.)  I had totally lost track of comic books from sixth grade on and all through high school but by some stroke of luck came back into them just at the time Jack Kirby (who had drawn all of my favorite Marvel characters when I was a child) had gone over to DC and was launching his Fourth World Series - The Forever People, Mister Miracle and The New Gods.  Also at DC, Denny O'Neil & Neal Adams were revitalizing Batman and Green Lantern/Green Arrow.  And the comic books at the junk store were TWO FOR A NICKEL!  I couldn't believe my good fortune.

The bookstore (I don't think it had a name, I know there was no sign outside) was located right where I got off the bus from Ohio State to go to my job at the parking lot of Doctor's North Hospital.  That area today has been gentrified into a neighborhood called The Short North.  In the early 1970's it was just a fucking war zone.  Every second or third house on the side streets was boarded up and inhabited by  street people (which was how the homeless were referred to in those pre-PC days).  And for some reason the area was LOADED with AWOL servicemen from the Vietnam era.  Plus assorted biker gangs and general lowlives of every description and variety.

Into that fertile/fetid atmosphere came wide-eyed 17-year old Rick Cacchione (YEARS before Ricki C. was invented by a later girlfriend), fresh from 12 years in Catholic school.  For the first few weeks or months I had been haunting my precious bookstore I had studiously avoided the White Castle burger place that was three doors down, 'cause you could just sense that place was bad news.  But one weekend that first winter the heat in the parking lot booth went out and I had to go in and buy a coffee just to keep my fingers from freezing.  I had been listening to The Velvet Underground since my high school best friend & bandmate Dave Blackburn introduced me to their music in 1968, I had read Last Exit To Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. because Lou Reed mentioned it once in an interview, but never in a million fucking years did I believe that culture - junkies, pimps, hookers, transvestites, street thugs - existed in safe little Columbus, Ohio.  Until I set foot in that White Castle.

I'd walk out of that place clutching my steaming cup of coffee and all but RUN to the safety zone, to the womb of my little bookstore hideaway shelter.  I still have dreams now, 40 years later, where I'm browsing the comic books and paperbacks in that store, making great find after great find.  I wake from those dreams feeling a peace I don't get many other places these days.  I can't remember who introduced me to the concept of heaven consisting of all your favorite places on earth existing within easy walking distance of your front door, but I have prayed to my God to put that little unnamed bookstore - run by that old couple whose names I never knew and now will never know - to be a part of my heaven.

© 2013 Ricki C.

Friday, May 10, 2013

appendix to I Love Distortion - Nick Lowe (Bonus Video Friday)

This month's installment of I Love Distortion (a rock & roll novel in 12 chapters) is finished, but won't run until May 29th, for reasons which will become obvious at that point.  So I've decided to use May's Bonus Friday Videos to illustrate what the band detailed in that story kinda/sorta/vaguely sounded like.  (I have no actual tapes of the band because they went off a bridge into the Scioto River as detailed in the April edition of I Love Distortion, blog entry April 13th, 2013.)  (No, wait, it's an imaginary band in a fictional story, so how could I have ever had tapes?)

Allow me to let Sean Richter take over.......

Nick Lowe was a truly major influence on my songwriting & bandleading in 1978.  As much as I idolized Bruce Springsteen, there was no way musically or financially I was going to be able to keep a seven-piece band with keyboards & a sax together on the West Side of Columbus.  And as much as I loved Lou Reed, my man from N.Y.C. was just a little too dour for the way I was feeling at the time.  I was a boy in love.

I think I've implied in I Love Distortion that my 1978 assemblage was a punk band, but in reality and in restrospect we were really just a fast, loud, hard rock & roll band playing three-minute songs with a take-no-prisoners attitude and no residual safety pins & garbage bags punk dress-up aspect.  (Plus we knew how to tune our guitars.)  Looking back, though, anything in 1978 that wasn't country-rock, prog-rock or metal/corporate-rock was labeled punk and/or New Wave by the media.  In the early going AC/DC, Cheap Trick and Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers were all thought of and viewed as "punk."  And really, how do you lump The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Jonathan Richman, Blondie, The Patti Smith Group, The Cars, The Dictators and Talking Heads all into the same movement?  (Not to mention Television, The Dwight Twilley Band, Elvis Costello & the Attractions, Shoes and Pere Ubu.)

Anyway, here's what we sounded like when I sang lead.  (Next Bonus Friday Video; what we sounded like when Nicole sang lead.) - Sean Richter

inspirational verse; "And in the air there was after-shave lotion /
In the wake of a snake-hipped Persian" - Nick Lowe, 1976

inspirational verse; "Daylight, do not descend / I don't ever want the night to end /
I want to carry on and on and on and on and on /
I feel so right it's wrong; it's wrong, it's wrong, it's wrong" - Nick Lowe, 1976

© 2013 Ricki C.